TESTED: Bergara B-14 Wilderness HMR in 6.5 PRC

Bergara rifles have seen a drastic increase in popularity in the last few years, and for good reason. Precision, features, quality, and value are all strong points, and that’s certainly true of the rifle I’ll be covering in this article. It’s the Bergara B-14 HMR Wilderness– a rifle equally fit for long-range shooting and hunting. And this rifle is chambered in my go-to big game hunting cartridge, 6.5 PRC.

Bergara B-14 Wilderness HMR

The Bergara B-14 Wilderness HMR is aimed at both precision long-range shooting, and at hunting. The “HMR” stands for “Hunting and Match Rifle” appropriately. Here’s the info from Bergara’s product page:

Bridging the gap between the B-14 and Premier Series, we bring you the B-14 Wilderness Series. This series tackles the need for rifles that can withstand the rugged and unforgiving wilderness while blending into those very same elements – hence Bergara’s hand-painted camouflage stocks with added webbing for increased texture and grip. All Wilderness Series barreled actions feature Sniper Grey Cerakote® finishes for advanced protection in extremely harsh weather.

The B-14 Wilderness HMR rifle features our integrated mini-chassis molded into the stock to give the rifle repeatable bedding and accuracy. This rifle is also outfitted with a Bergara Performance Trigger and a 5 round (3 round: 6.5 PRC) AICS style detachable magazine. The world-renowned (#6) Bergara barrel is finished in Sniper Grey Cerakote and features a seamless, omnidirectional, and multi-ported muzzle brake that will reduce felt recoil by up to 35 percent. The Wilderness HMR is complemented by our super-smooth B-14 Action, which is a two-lug system with a sliding plate extractor and a coned bolt nose and breech to ensure smooth feeding and extraction of the cartridge. It has been factory drilled and tapped to fit Remington 700 style rings and bases and includes QD flush cups, adjustable cheek piece and length-of-pull spacers.

The B-14 Wilderness Series provides a great deal of added value for the hunter that wants a no-nonsense performer that is built to withstand the backcountry. We are breaking through the uninhabited and inhospitable regions to bring you the weather protection needed to withstand these conditions.

We believe the word wilderness, while may be rugged, harsh and unforgiving, describes an experience rather than a location. We built the B-14 Wilderness Series to match every stride taken off the beaten trail.

    • Weight: 9.5 lbs-9.9 lbs
    • Overall Length: 40”-47.5”
    • Barrel Length: 20”-26”
    • Finish: Sniper Grey Cerakote
    • Magazine: AICS style detachable
    • Mag Capacity: 5 round mag provided (3 round mag: 6.5 PRC)
    • Barrel Taper: No. 6
    • Muzzle: Threaded 5/8-24” with Omni Muzzle Brake
    • Stock: Bergara HMR Molded with mini-chassis
    • Scope Mount: Fits Remington 700 bases with 6-48 screws
    • Trigger: Bergara Performance Trigger
    • Integrated QD flush cup sling mounts and swivel mounts
    • Adjustable cheek piece, and length-of-pull

CALIBER/TWIST: 6.5 CREEDMOOR/1:8, 6.5 PRC/1:8, .308 WIN/1:10, 7MM REM MAG/1:9.5, .300 WIN MAG/1:10, 300 PRC/1:9, 28 NOSLER/1:9

All B-14 Wilderness rifles are guaranteed to produce groups of 1.0 MOA or less at 100 yards with quality factory match grade ammunition.

Wilderness HMR MSRP $1260 – $1340

What’s In the Box

The Bergara B-14 Wilderness HMR comes equipped as follows:

Preview: Athlon Ares 4.5-27x50mm FFP Scope

For this rifle project, I selected the Athlon Ares 4.5-27x50mm BTR GEN2 scope wtih APLR3 reticle, and a set of Athlon Precision 30mm rings (low height). This should be the perfect optic for this rifle because of the following features:

  • First Focal Plane: ideal for the mix of long range shooting and hunting
  • Illuminated reticle (partial) for dusk hunting and night shooting
  • 4.5 – 27 power: wide enough for a variety of hunting situations, enough magnification for long-range shooting
  • HD glass brings great clarity

I’ll go deep on this scope when I publish the overview story- coming soon!

Break-In

I typically perform two things at the same time to get started with a rifle: sight-in, and break-in. For sight-in, I’ll typically do a thru-the-bore sight-in. The bolt is removed from the rifle, and the bore itself is aligned with the target. It’s then a matter of dialing the scope so that the target is centered with the reticle. There’s typically a few “back and forth” adjustments to get the initial bore-sight completed prior to the first shot being fired. Using this method, my first shot landed only 2.750″ from point of aim (center of 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper). Amazing how well this method can work.

For barrel break-in, I used the following process:

  • Fire 1 shot, clean
  • Fire 1 shot, clean
  • Fire 1 shot, clean
  • Fire 3 shots, clean
  • Fire 3 shots, clean
  • Fire 3 shots, clean
  • Fire 5 shots, clean
  • Fire 5 shots, clean
  • Fire 5 shots, clean

As you can see below, I use a quality bore guide, a carbon cleaning rod, and the following sequence for each cleaning:

  1. Wet patch
  2. Dry patch
  3. Dry patch
  4. Dry patch

Chronograph Testing

For this first story covering the Bergara B-14 HMR Wilderness rifle in 6.5 PRC, I decided to use the following ammunition for testing:

147 Grain ELD-M Factory Ammunition Data

The 147 grain ELD-M ammunition showed an impressive 2954 fps average velocity. Compared to the Hornady performance specification of 2910 fps, that’s 2% faster, and without full break-in! (could see 50-100fps more velocity after break-in).

143 Grain ELD-X Factory Ammunition Data

The 143 grain ELD-X ammunition showed an impressive 2987 fps average velocity. Compared to the Hornady performance specification of 2960 fps, that’s 1% faster, again before full break-in.

Both of these factory ammunition selections showed double-digit SD numbers on velocity which wouldn’t be ideal for shooting beyond 1000 yards, but these numbers are consistent with what I’ve seen with nearly all factory ammunition offerings. You really need to load your own ammunition and perform load development to get really tight velocity spreads (SD of 4-8 fps would be super).

Troubleshooting Accuracy

During break-in and velocity testing I saw something of concern: accuracy that wasn’t what I expected. I’ve shot other Bergara B-14 rifles (a few in 6.5 Creedmoor) and all were in the 0.5 MOA class with handloads. My initial testing with the 6.5 PRC Wilderness HMR was showing ~1.5 MOA accuracy with factory ammunition. After some investigation, I determined that the factory muzzle brake on this rifle was out of spec. The opening had a diameter of 0.2685″, only 0.0045″ over bullet diameter. I typically fit muzzle brakes 0.020″ over bullet diameter, and Bergara’s spec is 0.030″ over bullet diameter.

After removing the muzzle brake and shooting this rifle suppressed, groups went from about 1.5″ for 5 shots at 100 yards down to about 0.5″ for 5 shots at 100 yards! It turns out that a few rifles left Bergara with the wrong muzzle brake opening diameter. If you are one of the very few people (like myself) to get a rifle with an out of spec muzzle brake, you can send the brake back to Bergara- they will take care of you!

Accuracy Testing

For accuracy testing, I used the same Hornady factory ammunition, and the following setup for rifle and support:

  • SilencerCo Omega 300 30 caliber suppressor
  • Sinclair Bench Rest front rest (swivel studs removed from rifle stock)
  • Protektor Model front leather bag, Protektor model leather rear bag
  • Concrete bench, 100 yards distance from target

Best Group: 147 grain ELD-M Factory Ammunition

Following my “muzzle brake fix”, I conducted limited accuracy testing with the factory ammunition used during sight-in/break-in and velocity testing.

The 147 grain ELD-M Factory Ammunition easily surpassed the 1 MOA Bergara gurantee- with limited testing producing a group measuring 0.619″ for 5-shots at 100 yards (0.591 MOA). And the first four shots went into 0.252″! I’d like to shoot this ammunition with the Bergara Wilderness HMR some more to see if I can do even better!

Best Group: 143 grain ELD-X Factory Ammunition

Things got even better with Hornady’s 6.5 PRC Precision Hunter 143 grain ELD-X factory ammunition! I only shot one group, and that group measured 0.465″ for 5 shots at 100 yards (0.444 MOA). Now that’s impressive performance for a factory rifle with factory hunting ammunition!

What’s more: I have not yet encountered a situation where I couldn’t improve on factory ammunition results with my own handloads. And that makes me wonder what will happen with this Wilderness HMR and some load development and testing of handloads. I can’t wait!

What’s Next

What’s next with this rifle? First I’m going to perform some load development, then follow up with some additional accuracy testing with my handloads. I do have some work to do in order to safely shoot long-range steel targets at the Ultimate Reloader Ranch (dead grass and fire danger), but that’s on my list too! Stay tuned for more updates!

If you are looking for a top-notch hunting rifle in the $1K class, the Bergara B-14 HMR Wilderness is worth a VERY close look!

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Thanks,
Gavin

One thought on “TESTED: Bergara B-14 Wilderness HMR in 6.5 PRC”

  1. Hi Gavin,
    Do you know if the receiver is threaded identical to a Remington 700, Savage Small Shank, or Large Shank with recoil lug integral or separate? For those of us DIYers when it’s time to replace the barrel with a Remage or Savage barrel nut setup?
    Sincerely,
    Rodney Elliott

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